Barbara Casacci Millard, 66, of Doylestown, an English professor and former dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at La Salle University, died of cancer Monday at home.

Dr. Millard joined the La Salle faculty in 1972, two years after the all-male school administered by the Christian Brothers became coeducational. In 1985, she became the second woman on the faculty to become a full professor, and she was president of the faculty senate from 1987 to 1990.

In 1993, Dr. Millard became the first faculty member other than a Christian Brother to be appointed dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

She was involved in the women's network on campus, which led to the establishment of the school's Women's Studies program in 1981.

A specialist in Renaissance literature and Shakespeare, Dr. Millard invited the Royal Shakespeare Company to La Salle to perform on three occasions and organized several student trips to England to visit London and Stratford-upon-Avon.

"Barbara was a remarkable teacher. When students took her Shakespeare course, they worked very hard. They gained not merely an understanding of his plays but an appreciation and an enthusiasm for reading them," said Marjorie Allen, a La Salle English professor.

She wanted students to feel the plays, another La Salle professor, Maribel Molyneaux, said. "When I would pass her classroom, I could see all the kids in crowns and robes," she said.

Every April, Dr. Millard invited students to her home to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday with backyard performances of scenes from his plays, said her husband, John Millard.

Dr. Millard and her husband met at a church fair when they were 14 and 15 and married in 1965. Their son was born in 1967 and their daughter was born in 1971. In 1973, Dr. Millard cofounded the Building Blocks Day Care Center at La Salle, with her daughter as one of the first enrollees. To raise funds for the center, she coedited the book Cooking by Degrees, containing recipes donated by the La Salle staff.

Dr. Millard retired as dean in 2001 and retired as a professor in 2007. In her final year, she departed from her usual subjects and taught a popular honors course, "America in the '70s: Decade of Revolution," her daughter, Jennifer Seery, said.

Dr. Millard enjoyed traveling with her husband and volunteered for a reading-for-the-blind program.

In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived by a son, John; a brother; and four grandchildren.

A life celebration will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church, 1 Riverstone Circle, New Hope. A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.